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Women’s Lacrosse: Irish split games in California

Cory Bernard | Monday, February 14, 2011

After beating Cal on Friday, the No. 10 Irish headed 30 miles south to Palo Alto to face the No. 13 Stanford Cardinal on Sunday. Sunday’s results were a bit different from Friday’s victory, as Notre Dame (1-1) lost a heartbreaker by a score of 13-12.

After dismantling the Golden Bears in a 20-6 victory, the Irish ran into a bigger challenge in the first half of Sunday’s clash, as the Cardinal jumped out to an early 4-0 lead. Managing to cut the deficit to 5-3 at halftime, Notre Dame fought back to an 8-7 lead in the second half.

“I was happy with our in-game adjustments,” Irish coach Tracy Coyne said of the changes that allowed her team to respond to the early onslaught.

However, after a goal from senior captain Shaylyn Blaney put the Irish up 12-11 with 7:24 to play, the Cardinal scored the final two goals of the game against a Notre Dame squad that played mostly shorthanded due to a rash of penalties. Coyne said her squad hurt themselves with their sloppy play.

“Our decision making wasn’t the best,” she said. “We had opportunities to make plays but we just had a lot of unforced errors. For the most part it wasn’t anything [Stanford] was doing, we just hurt ourselves a lot.”

A lack of preparation may also have contributed to the loss, as Coyne noted her coaching staff’s lack of film on this season’s version of the Cardinal after Stanford hired a new coach in 2010.

“From a preparation standpoint, we didn’t have much film on them,” Coyne said. “Give them credit though, they had a really good game plan and they stuck to it.”

Despite losing on the road to a ranked opponent, Coyne still left feeling irked by the loss.

“It’s the opening weekend on the road, and to play two teams this early is tough,” she said. “I’m definitely disappointed, though. There were a lot of things that annoyed me about this loss.”

After winning 20-6 just two days earlier and seeing 12 players score goals, including three for the first time in their careers and a career-high four goals and two assists from sophomore midfielder Jenny Granger, fatigue may also have played a role in Sunday’s result.

“I think we we’re a bit tired,” Coyne said. “We’re in great shape for this time of year, but we kept turning it over and making ourselves play a lot of defense.”

With nearly a week off before facing No. 2 Northwestern Saturday at home, the Irish hope to get back to their winning ways against a more familiar opponent in a rematch of last season’s NCAA first-round matchup.